book reviews

May 26, 2011 |
Courtesy of Beaverdale Books


Reviewed by Julie Goodrich


'The Honk and Holler Opening Soon'

By Billie Letts

Grand Central Publishing



384 pp


One you might have missed… A wonderfully sweet and sad love story, "The Honk and Holler Opening Soon," is Billie Letts' sparkling follow-up to her first novel, the award winning, "Where the Heart Is." With her unique, quirky style, Letts brings the town of Sequoyah, Okla. to life; full of hard-living, hopeful people that make small-town life such a barbed joy.

Caney is the proprietor of the local diner, where a misunderstanding when he ordered the sign results in the eponymous sign that has long since become a local joke. In the 12 years since the opening, Caney hasn't left the diner, choosing instead to serve the locals from his wheelchair while nursing the memories and wounds he's suffered.

Everything changes, however, when Vena Takes Horse appears, a 30-something woman with Crow ancestry, who pops up in town with a secret and a three-legged dog. Suddenly seeing things with fresh eyes, the town, Caney and the Honk and Holler all set about adapting to this woman and her unique outlook on life. It isn't long before Caney realizes that love is within his reach and maybe hope isn't such a bad thing.

Along with the Vietnamese immigrant Bui, Vena teaches the town about acceptance, secrets and the true value of community. The story is heart-warming and real, with a subtle set of lessons wound throughout. If you value good, solid story telling and a real, if happy, ending, "The Honk and Holler Opening Soon" is well worth your time. Billie Letts is a fantastic writer, and this is one of her best. CV